Mary and Joelle tasting the Cuvaison 2006 Merlot and 2009 Zinfandel Mount Veeder - both
recently added to the tasting flights!
Have you ever wondered where those seemingly crazy-illustrious adjectives come from on tasting menus? While we cannot speak for other wineries, we do know each wine poured in our tasting room is examined through tasting, seeing, smelling and swirling.
Both Joelle (Hospitality Manager & Wine Educator) and Mary (Director of Retail Operations) have completed wine immersion and sensory courses at the Culinary Institute of America in St. Helena, and together they collaborate on writing these notes.
The serious connoisseur knows it takes years of “study” and tasting to cultivate an ability to identify the more subtle components of wine so don’t feel bad if you’re not picking up on the smoky tea, tobacco or plum.
Thought we'd share this nice write-up on Cuvaison by Robert Whitley of "Wine Talk With Robert Whitley":
Last week Club Cuvaison members from near and far joined together for the unique opportunity to experience the view of our Carneros vineyards from the Tasting Room at sunset.
Think sunlit vines, green rolling hills as far as the eye can see and GREAT WINE!
Cuvaison Wine Educator & Hospitality Manager Joelle Kurrus made an excellent effort coordinating this magical experience. Guests tasted through Signature and Winery/Club Exclusives and enjoyed savory pulled pork sliders, pork ribs and horseradish coleslaw catered by Cochon Volante of Sonoma.
Our hard working bottling crew in action!. Way to go team!
What else would you expect from a Club Cuvaison “Mayo” celebration? Here are some of the highlights from this year’s festivities hosted in our quaint Guest house located at the edge of our Carneros Vineyard.
The Guest House was brightly decorated before guests arrived - Latin rhythms of guitarrons and trumpets piping in the background. Ernie and Laurie (our new wine club associate) greeted guests at the front door and distributed mustaches for those who … needed them. That said, they were quite popular amongst the women folk.
|(From left to right: Club Cuvaison Laurie, George Kilbourne and granddaughter Lauren)|
|(From left to right: Jamie and Mary and the 2010 Vin Gris of Pinot Noir)|
Cuvaison’s 2010 Sauvignon Blanc, 2009 Carneros Chardonnay, 2009 Mariafeld Pinot Noir, 2009 Block F5 Pinot Noir and 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon Mount Veeder were being poured and guests were greeted at the door with a taste of the newly released 2010 Vin Gris of Pinot Noir.
|Catered by Villa Corona|
A variety of sumptuous south-of-the-border inspired cuisine was served buffet-style for Club Members. Villa Corona (who has catered this Cuvaison club event for years) prepared a special sea bass, carnitas and grilled chicken “taco bar” along with perfectly crisped homemade taco shells and fresh guacamole, sour cream, salsa, cilantro and shredded cheese as toppings.
Aside from the usual carousing, eating and drinking we had a piñata, but they just don’t’ make them like they used to. After a mere two blows, a fierce (and nameless) Club Cuvaison member knocked the sweets right out of the piñata Joelle had taken careful measures to hang from the eaves.
On the second blow the piñata fissured at the neckline leaving the head dangling only by a thread; anticlimactic yet funny. (see image of the “burro slayer” at the top of this blog post). Of course the piñata candy innards were distributed amongst party goers (and the Juicy Fruits proved to be a righteous accompaniment to the Mexican fare).
This was Cuvaison’s ninth “Mayo” celebration in a row. Some attendees have been coming every year, and this year we saw new faces as well – such as this couple relaxing with some Vin Gris in the hammock. Now, they know how to do it right!
<< View Photo Gallery of this Event Here >>
Red-wearing revelers frolicked at our Chinese New Year celebration and banquet held in our Calistoga wine cave this past Sunday.
Cuvaison Estate Wines Hospitality Manager and Wine Educator, Joelle Kurrus’ efforts made this year’s Club Tasting in the Cave event unforgettable.
For starters, the cave was decorated from head to toe with lighted Chinese lanterns and other celebratory trimmings. Visitors were transformed into a Chinese New Year fantasy realm just ten yards inside the cave entrance where a stoic yet peaceful Buddha, banked by apple blossom branches and red backlighting, welcomed guests and “set the mood.”
Other Chinese New Year themed decorations lined the cave’s hallways, table tops and place settings. “Pop-pop snappers” (fuse less firecrackers for children – in this case, adult children) were disbursed at the check-in station, along with chocolate coins (traditionally given to the young) and “lucky money bags.”
The Club Cuvaison office designed a variety of games including numerology and an American card game called “Murder” interpreted to our Chinese New Year celebration event.
Soft tunes hand picked by Joelle reverberated throughout the cave and beneath the backdrop of people carousing and laughing.
The food! The wine!
Guests were greeted with a glass of Cuvaison 2009 Carneros Chardonnay and then the group migrated into the main dining hall and invited to choose where they wanted to sit. The different faces of Cuvaison hosted each table and included Suzanna, Mary, Jamie, Dan, Stephanie, Steve Rogstad and Joelle. The amazing cuisine was catered by the acclaimed San Francisco restaurant Yank Sing.
Guests were first served a first course of honey glazed walnut salad, accompanied by Cuvaison’s 2009 S Block Chardonnay. Perfectly paired!
The second course consisted of a variety of dim sum (shrimp dumplings (I still have dreams about these), chicken mushroom dumplings, pork and shrimp sui mye and snow pea shoots dumplings) and Cuvaison’s 2008 Carneros Pinot Noir. Also perfectly paired!
The third (and heartiest) course included a generous portion of chicken chow mein, Mongolian beef, honey walnut prawn and Peking ribs. beef with the Cuvaison 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon Mount Veeder wine.
The evening was topped off with Chinese confections including fortune cookies, coconut cream rolls, sesame balls and pour of the Cuvaison 2008 Espiritu port-style dessert wine.
A good time was had by all, but there’s still debate as to which table had the most fun. We’re pretty sure that Jamie’s might have had a little more fun.
Watch a short video of Cuvaison Estate Wines sorting their 2010 Pinot Noir on the brand-new state-of-the-art Pellenc “Vision.”
This de-stemmer/sorter machine features a high speed camera that sorts roughly 1000 berries per second.
The winemaker teaches the machine what to keep and what to get rid of, and it does so by learning the shape (round berries) and color (black berries), etc.
Then the machine excludes (through a well directed micro blast of compressed air) any berries or stems that are not wanted.”
These days our vineyards are like a gentle flowing carpet of deep velvety green. The days are long and despite the higher temperatures found in most parts of the Napa Valley, our Carneros Estate remains comfortably cool with breezes off the bay. We simply could not resist hosting a spontaneous summertime event for our wine club members.
We had over 190 Club Cuvaison members RSVP. Most of them hailed from the San Francisco Bay Area, a few from Chico and Los Angeles and even some from as far away as Chicago and Iowa.
Let’s start with the food. The food was … delicious. For meat eaters, the highlight was hand crafted sausages made special by Napa's artisanal charcuterie, The Fatted Calf. These sausages were infused with our very own 2008 Carneros Pinot Noir wine and were amazing!
Fresh seasonal fruit salad and roasted potato salad with whole grain mustard also made for a nice accompaniment to our Carneros Estate flight of wines being poured.
The evening was filled with cheery conversation while guests sipped and swirled our Vin Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel, Carneros Chardonnay and Carneros Pinot Noir. New and old friends mingled while the sun slowly slipped towards the horizon, casting an almost ethereal golden hue across the landscape.
It was stunning. For those who were not able to make it this time, we hope to see you on your next visit to Napa Valley!
<<Click here to view Event Photos>>
You’ve attended business meetings all week. You’re overseas, far from your family and you miss sleeping in your own bed terribly. The good news is that your flight is on time and you depart tonight. The not-so-good news is that you’ll be hard pressed to find a respectable glass of wine in the air.
If you’re flying Singapore Airlines, you will never encounter this problem. Awarded “Best Global Airline” by Condé Nast Traveler, Singapore Airlines and its passengers demand quality and reliability. And this doesn’t stop at their Business Class wine list.
Singapore Airlines boasts a distinguished panel of wine experts who perform a bi-annual “blind” tasting of up to 1,000 wines. Wines are judged on appearance (color and clarity), bouquet (or “nose”) and palate (taste). The panel also assesses the wine’s suitability for drinking on board an aircraft where the atmosphere tends to be drier. Out of the 1,000, only 15 wines are selected for all classes of service (first, business and economy).
That being said, Cuvaison Estate Wines is honored to announce that our 2008 Carneros Chardonnay Napa Valley is now being poured on Singapore Airlines in Business Class … around the world. Simply put, Singapore Airlines is committed to serving the best on board and Cuvaison is delighted.
Now, meet Singapore Airlines’ Panel of Wine Experts:
Global Wine Consultant, Steven Spurrier, from the United Kingdom
(Consultant Editor to Decanter Magazine and President of the Circle of Wine Writers, author of several books)
Master of Wine, Jeannie Cho Lee , from the United States
(a wine judge who contributes regularly to Decanter, Wine Spectator and Revue du Vin)
Master of Wine, Michael Hill Smith, from Australia
(wine consultant, wine judge, writer and broadcaster, awarded prestigious Order of Australia for his contributions to the wine industry)
Photo credits: Singapore Airlines website
Sensible Shoes Advised
Let's face it, most people who visit Wine Country stay on the beaten path. The closest they get to the grapevines is viewing them as a blur through a car window.
If you like to stray from the confines of the tasting room, and have a hankering to wander through our luscious rows of vines for a closer look, we encourage you to take a closer look at our all new Carneros Estate Vineyard Walk and Tasting program.
This program includes a walking discussion of our vineyards, followed by tasting through our Carneros Estate flight of wines.
Walking shoes are advised. We also advise dressing in layers, as conditions change frequently in Carneros.
The Carneros Estate Vineyard Walk and Tasting is offered Friday through Monday at 9:30am. Cost is $30 per person or $20 for Club Cuvaison members. Reservations are required. Groups are limited to a maximum of 8 guests.
Kelly J. Hayes: WineInk
Sunday, June 20, 2010
That comment from Jay Schuppert, president of Cuvaison Estate Winery, best sums up a valuable life lesson he learned as a young man. Schuppert has, in the last three-plus decades, followed his passions through a career that has taken him from the Crystal Palace's kitchen sink to the helm of one of Napa Valley's most respected wine estates.
This past weekend he returned to the roots of his career, pouring Cuvaison's wines in the tent at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen. He is a frequent visitor and remains fast friends with many locals he met during a 12-year stint in Aspen's restaurant community.
Jay's journey in the wine world began in 1972 when he came to Aspen, fresh from college graduation. There were no stoplights from Independence Pass to Glenwood Springs at the time, and the living was easy. Provided you could make a living.
Mead Metcalf gave him a job washing dishes at the then-thriving Crystal Palace restaurant and dinner theater. In four short years he ...Read more here ...
Phone calls are so 2005 - and snail mail, what’s that? Everyday our world is communicating less through traditional mail and phone calls, and more through text messaging and emails.
People are ditching their perfectly serviceable cell phones to upgrade to “smart phones” that do everything short of bringing you breakfast in bed. (Think iphone, Droid and Blackberry)
Why are we bringing this up? Good question. Cuvaison has recently developed a special site that makes navigating cuvaison.com from a smart phone easier.
The next time you visit our website from a smart phone, you will enjoy your experience and won’t have to scroll a million times in order to see the breadth of a specific page.
Say you’re on a Princess cruise or flying Singapore Airlines and happenchance upon a Cuvaison wine you like. All you have to do is visit our mobile site and buy wine remotely. Tell us that’s not cool!
We are convinced the smart phone users of the universe will find our new mobile site friendly to navigate and easy to shop on. We’ll see you on the World Wide Web!
This year’s “Cinco de Mayo” event landed on May 1st – hence our clever name – Uno de Mayo. Get it?
The weather was cooperative which made for a lovely occasion out at our festively decorated Guest House - located amidst our Carneros estate vineyard.
A generous and savory offering of light bites were prepared specially for Club Cuvaison members by Villa Corona Cocina Mexicana of Napa.
Have you tried their tamales with our 2009 Sauvignon Blanc? Trust us, this is one of those bucket list items you’ve got to check off. All you need is a warm afternoon, a recliner and some chilled Sauvignon Blanc.
<< CLICK IMAGE TO SEE PHOTO GALLERY>>
DJ Lipton of Napa kept the party going with non-stop action-packed Zumba and Salsa dance instruction. Of course, for those who left their dancing shoes at home - there was ample opportunity to carouse with other Club members or enjoy one of our estate wines being poured, including the newly released 2008 Zinfandel Bald Mountain.
If you couldn’t make it this year – make sure to join us next year. This event always sells out so make sure to sign up earlier than later!
Cuvaison's Winemaker, Steven Rogstad has started a team for this event and is recruiting teammates! Click here to see who's signed up, how much money the Cuvaison team has raised, or to join our team!
What is the Echelon Grand Fondo? "It is a series of European style mass participation cycling rides (Cyclosportif rides) held on epic courses in destination locations." And it's coming to Napa Valley on May 23, 2010 benefiting LIVESTRONG and both The Queen of the Valley Medical Center and The Saint Helena Hospital located in the Napa Valley, California.
Whether you are a professional cyclist or a casual rider, this event has something for you as there is a 30, 60, or 100 mile road cycling option! The race starts in downtown Napa at 8:30AM. Click to learn more»
Don't own a bike? No problem, there is a 5K Run/Walk too! Click to learn more»
Can't make it to the event? Then help us by donating to this great cause! Click here to donate to Steve's Team»
We hope to see you out there, whether you are biking, walking, or cheering along side us!
Join us for a private tour and tasting with our Winemaker Steve Rogstad. Walk through our organically grown Block F5, tour through the cellars and taste our line-up of Estate Grown Carneros wines in our new Carneros Tasting Room where you will be surrounded by views of the rolling waves of vines.
Take home a mixed six pack of Cuvaison Estate Grown and Bottled Pinot Noirs.
Check out other great auction lots from Carneros wineries:
Get your taste buds ramped up for Club Cuvaison's May Sampler which includes the 2007 Block F5 Pinot Noir and the 2007 Mt. Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon. Here's what Cuvaison Winemaker Steven Rogstad has to say about these wines.
Everyday, the energy produced from the solar panels on top of our Carneros Winery is reported directly and instantly to our website! Since installation in 2007, we have avoided putting 827,010 lbs of CO2 into the Earth's atmosphere!
Our solar panels have produced enough energy to: operate a TV for 4,635,532 hours; power 5,131 computers for 1 year; or power 36 homes for 1 year! And these panels have saved as much pollution from entering the atmosphere as an average passenger car emits over 83 years!
Solar isn't the only way Cuvaison is giving back to the environment.
Read more about our Green Initiatives>>